Wesley Downs Wilkes in ECAC Semis
KINGSTON, Pa. - Wesley College scored 10 runs on 14 hits and needed every one as the Wolverines hung on for a 10-9 win in the ECAC South Semifinals against top seeded Wilkes at Artillery Field.
With the win, the Wolverines (26-16-1) will play for their first ECAC crown since 1992 later in the day. Wesley will play the winner of the day's second semifinal, between second seeded Penn State Altoona and sixth seeded Neumann.
With Wesley leading 10-6 in the ninth, Wilkes (29-12) mounted a comeback in the bottom of the ninth. The Colonels led off the frame with a pair of hit batters and single that loaded the bases. The third hit batter of the day and sixth of the game cut the Wolverines' advantage to 10-7 with no one out. The next batter, Chris Dengler hit into a 6-4-3 double play that scored another run and moved Geoff Miller to third. Joel Watson followed with an RBI double and represented the tying run. Reliever Chris Koch (Hyattsville, Md./Bishop McNamara), however, struck out pinch hitter Tom Plessl looking to end the game and send Wesley to the championship game.
Andrew Garofoli and a drove in runs for the Colonels in each of the first two innings with a first inning single and a bases loaded walk in the second to give Wilkes an early 2-0 lead.
The Wolverines, however, battled back with 10 runs over the next four innings. After Geoff Kimmel (Lawrenceville, N.J./Lawrence) cut the lead in half with a two-out double in the third, Bryan Reshetar (Newark, Del./Hodgson Vo-Tech) followed with a two-run single that scored both Kimmel and Grant Morlock (Bel Air, Md./Fallston) to put Wesley on top 3-2.
Wilkes put two runners on in the bottom half of the inning, but Ryan Doran (Bensalem, Pa./Bensalem) got Shane Keister to hit into a 1-6-3 double play to end the threat.
Rob Benedict (Drexel Hill, Pa./Monsignor Bonner) doubled in a run in the fourth and scored on a Kevin Murphy (Middletown, Md./Middletown) as the Wolverines stretched the lead to 5-2.
Two Colonel errors on failed pick off attempts in the fifth opened the door for four more Wesley runs. Scott Marshall (Jackson, N.J./Jackson Memorial) drove in the first run of the inning and scored made it 7-2 when he scored on Wilkes' third miscue of the inning. Murphy drove in two runs on a single before the inning was over for a 9-2 lead.
Wilkes got one run back in the bottom half on a wild pitch before Billy Crowe (Newark, Del./Salesianum) drove in James Overstreet (Dover, Del./Lake Forest) in top of the sixth for a 10-3 lead.
The Colonels scored three runs in their half of the sixth on a walk, three hit batters and a two-run double by Jeremy Watson to cut it to 10-6 in favor of the Wolverines.
Doran remained perfect on the year, improving to 5-0. He allowed three runs on five hits and seven walks and struck out three in five innings.
Reliever Kyle McGuire (Hartly, Del./Polytech) fanned five in 2.2 innings of scoreless relief.
Morlock led all players with three hits on the day. Murphy had two hits and drove in three. Stu Madden (Langhorne, Pa./Neshaminy) and Reshetar matched Murphy with two hits apiece.
It was the second wild game of the year between the two squads. During spring break, it was the Wolverines who tried a comeback, but fell 13-10 despite 16 hits. In the two meetings between the Wesley and the Colonels, the Wolverines batted 30-of-82 (.367), nearly 50 points higher Wilkes' opponents batting average.
Tom Buckler took the loss for Wilkes. He allowed five runs on eight hits in four innings to fall to 9-4.
Matt Ruch and Jeremy Watson had two hits apiece for Wilkes.
Photo of Kyle McGuire compliments of Stevenson University.